Plasmonic gold nanocrystals coupled with photonic crystal seamlessly on TiO2 nanotube photoelectrodes for efficient visible light photoelectrochemical water splitting

Abstract
A visible light responsive plasmonic photocatalytic composite material is designed by rationally selecting Au nanocrystals and assembling them with the TiO2-based photonic crystal substrate. The selection of the Au nanocrystals is so that their surface plasmonic resonance (SPR) wavelength matches the photonic band gap of the photonic crystal and thus that the SPR of the Au receives remarkable assistance from the photonic crystal substrate. The design of the composite material is expected to significantly increase the Au SPR intensity and consequently boost the hot electron injection from the Au nanocrystals into the conduction band of TiO2, leading to a considerably enhanced water splitting performance of the material under visible light. A proof-of-concept example is provided by assembling 20 nm Au nanocrystals, with a SPR peak at 556 nm, onto the photonic crystal which is seamlessly connected on TiO2 nanotube array. Under visible light illumination (>420 nm), the designed material produced a photocurrent density of ∼150 μA cm-2, which is the highest value ever reported in any plasmonic Au/TiO2 system under visible light irradiation due to the photonic crystal-assisted SPR. This work contributes to the rational design of the visible light responsive plasmonic photocatalytic composite material based on wide band gap metal oxides for photoelectrochemical applications. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Citation
Zhang, Z., Zhang, L., Hedhili, M. N., Zhang, H., & Wang, P. (2012). Plasmonic Gold Nanocrystals Coupled with Photonic Crystal Seamlessly on TiO2 Nanotube Photoelectrodes for Efficient Visible Light Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting. Nano Letters, 13(1), 14–20. doi:10.1021/nl3029202

Acknowledgements
The authors are grateful for KAUST for providing financial support.

Publisher
American Chemical Society (ACS)

Journal
Nano Letters

DOI
10.1021/nl3029202

PubMed ID
23205530

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